When I am asked about my thesis, I often notice that it’s not easy to explain my subject. My choice of words varies dependingly on to whom I am talking. After lots of reading and after writing a couple of abstracts I am able to explain my subject in a few lines, in scientific language. However, I still feel a bit insecure explaining my subject when I have to talk about it.
You often get asked about your thesis subject by your family or by your friends. My mother for example likes to get to the bottom of things, so I have to go into detail. When I get asked by my friends (“What do you study?”, or in german: “Worüber schreibst du eigentlich?”), I mostly feel that less is more and they would appreciate to get an idea about my work, but are also glad when I don’t go on and on about it. I can tell very quickly if the other person is drifting off while I talk (I can’t blame them).
This got me thinking it would be interesting to play around with different ways to explain my subject. For example by trying to make it short or by imagining to address various types of audience. Or you could imagine to try to explain your subject in 3 minutes time, addressing your talk to a non-expert audience – with that you could even take part in competitions (for example: mt180, threeminutethesis). It certainly is a challenge to transform your subject into an interesting story that you have to tell within a very limited time in front of a big audience and to consider intonation, body language etc…
Explore how to communicate your research in different ways. This exercise might at first seem a bit silly, but I think it can help you to look at your subject from a new angle and to reflect on how to translate it from the abstract language.
I will do a first try for my subject, inspired by lolmythesis:
Fungus kills frogs in some places in mountains and in others not. I try to find out why by using my computer.
…Now, this was actually not so easy! The result might not be very informative or funny but playing around with language can lead to more creative writing – so maybe it’s worth to try it out!